Cocktailery: Say Goodbye to Summer with a Michelada

There’s still a bit of summer left, still time for an exotic drink. Something that makes one think of watching the sun set over the ocean, or hanging out by the pool before dinner, or spending a lazy late afternoon on the balcony. I’ve got just the thing: the michelada.

I first learned about this recipe from Rick Bayless on his PBS show, Mexico: One Plate at a Time. At the end of an especially challenging bar shift, I made a couple of these for myself and the chef. I don’t use any specific measurements, but if you get the proportions just right, the flavors bloom together in a very refreshing way. Don’t get scared off by the ingredients – it’s going to taste terrific!

Here’s what you need to make one:

One bottle of light beer (I mean, light-colored beer – I prefer to use Corona to keep this true to its heritage, but I have also used Rolling Rock and Miller High Life if that’s what I have on hand. I wouldn’t use a dark beer. That’s bound to overpower or disagree with the other ingredients.)

Half a lemon (use the other half for a friend’s drink)

Worcestershire sauce (Edited to add: see my notes below!)

Hot sauce

Black pepper

And here’s how you make it:

Grab a nice glass. The bar I work at serves beer in banquet goblets, which make sense for these. The curved bowl of the glass lets the ingredients swirl and mingle as you work. Use whatever you have. My preference is to use something big enough to accommodate the whole bottle of beer.

Squeeze the half lemon into the bottom of the glass. If you cup it, cut side up, in your hand, you won’t get any seeds in the glass.

Put a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce into the bottom of the glass. If you’re using the bottle, give it three or four good shakes.

Give the hot sauce a couple of shakes into the glass. You won’t need much.

Pour the beer slowly into the glass. See? All the ingredients are mixing themselves down there, aren’t they?

Stand back and admire the drink long enough for the head to come down just a bit. It’s going to make a nice savory fragrance. Then hit it with a couple of shakes of pepper – maybe a twist and a half from the grinder – and you’re done.

Now have a sip. It’s going to open with a little sparkle from the pepper, and then it gets nice and rich as the lemon and Worcestershire open up through the beer, and then the hot sauce finishes everything off with a little bloom of heat. It’s a pleasantly complex drink, great for sipping as you watch the seasons change and celebrate these last days of summer. I’m planning on watching the sun set on the equinox with one of these in hand.

Happy autumn!

**Edited to add: Last night, I learned something important when I made my michelada. I learned that it was time to throw out my bottle of Worcestershire sauce. Tonight I made one with soy sauce instead, and it is DELICIOUS. Use one packet of restaurant soy sauce — surely you’ve got one lying around. Enjoy!


    1. Yeah, it is mostly beer, so that does help a little. I made one last night and I am thinking of using soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce tonight.

      If you’ve done it right, it will come up GBD, golden brown and delicious!


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